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leicsmac

Swatting

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Not entirely sure if this should go in the generic US thread, but it does concern video games and online gaming so I stuck it in here.

 

Police in Kansas shot a guy after he was apparently "swatted" by an online gamer. Wasn't even a gamer himself - apparently they were sent to a false address that one of the gamers had given and some sore loser kid thought it was a good idea.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/29/us/wichita-shooting-swatting.html

 

Though the US cops responded in their usual trigger-happy fashion, sooner or later one of these swatting incidents was always going to end up this way (I'm honestly surprised it took so long) and whoever called911 is equally if not more culpable for this guys death.

 

Some sections of the online gaming community need to take a long hard look at themselves IMO (not that I hold out much hope on that one).

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As an addendum, someone posted something about this that sums up my own feelings on the topic pretty well.

 

"Should I be more pissed that this seriously awful "prank"/Gamergate harassment tactic that got someone killed will most likely be explained away with "It's just a prank that went bad, dude. Don't get your panties in a twist." and the community will resume being dominated by toxic-ass edge lords?

 

Or should I be more pissed that the petty squabble of a pair of Call of Duty Bros got an innocent bystander killed and the perpetrator will probably get a slap on the wrist?

Or should I be more pissed that the officer that killed an innocent bystander is probably going to get no repercussions and a veritable army of internet morons that will defend him killing an innocent bystander?

 

My head hurts."

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It's a stupid prank and it should be punished, the idiots that called it in should be locked up for manslaughter. 

 

But let's not exactly let the police off the hook. If all it takes to get someone shot is one phone call then you've got problems. The article I read said the guy just got shot answering his door right? 

 

Surely you do some due diligence and don't just turn up shooting because someone makes a report. I mean it goes both ways right? 

 

I resent "gaming" being brought in to it though. I've been playing call of duty for a good ten years, I contribute occasionally to the reddit, I could be called a gamer and a member of that community. Clearly nobody I know would ever do something this retarded. 

 

It may be an example of Internet troll culture in young people going too far but it's nothing to do with playing computer games or "gamergate." 

Edited by Finnegan

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As an aside, making this international news is a bit retarded. 

 

It's more likely to inspire copycats than deter pranksters. 

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18 minutes ago, Finnegan said:

It's a stupid prank and it should be punished, the idiots that called it in should be locked up for manslaughter. 

 

But let's not exactly let the police off the hook. If all it takes to get someone shot is one phone call then you've got problems. The article I read said the guy just got shot answering his door right? 

 

Surely you do some due diligence and don't just turn up shooting because someone makes a report. I mean it goes both ways right? 

 

I resent "gaming" being brought in to it though. I've been playing call of duty for a good ten years, I contribute occasionally to the reddit, I could be called a gamer and a member of that community. Clearly nobody I know would ever do something this retarded. 

 

It may be an example of Internet troll culture in young people going too far but it's nothing to do with playing computer games or "gamergate." 

The fuzz should absolutely get pilloried for this, just another incident of its type that seems to be very prevalent in the US.

 

At the same time though, I wouldn't let some areas of the gamer community off the hook either - in those areas online gaming, internet troll culture, and being an edgelord (which often also means being a misogynist and racist as well as part of the same package) are rather closely entwined. I love playing games but I'm well aware that there's some unsavoury elements that attach themselves to the community that I'd really rather not be associated with. 

 

I (and the poster I quoted) are really not trying to generalise here (I hope not anyway) but certain parts of the gamer community are undeniably toxic IMO.

Edited by leicsmac

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I don't think it's unique to gaming though, is my point. 

 

It's a cultural phenomena in general amongst young, white, western males that's exaggerated by the anonymity of the Internet. Being "edgy" and trolling are "cool."

 

Gaming is just one medium where it takes residence but it shouldn't be considered a gaming issue, this shouldn't be in the computers section it should be back in general chat. 

 

It's a societal problem, nothing to do with one entertainment platform. 

 

It pains me to make the comparison but, actually, in some ways it's the "punk" of the twenty first century. Anti establishmentism on a virtual platform. 

Edited by Finnegan

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2 minutes ago, Finnegan said:

I don't think it's unique to gaming though, is my point. 

 

It's a cultural phenomena in general amongst young, white, western males that's exaggerated by the anonymity of the Internet. Being "edgy" and trolling are "cool."

 

Gaming is just one medium where it takes residence but it shouldn't be considered a gaming issue, this shouldn't be in the computers section it should be back in general chat. 

 

It's a societal problem, nothing to do with one entertainment platform. 

 

It pains me to make the comparison but, actually, in some ways it's the "punk" of the twenty first century. Anti establishmentism on a virtual platform. 

Yeah, I did umm and ahh a bit about where to put this.

 

Gaming isn't the only medium where this phenomenon takes place, but I would posit that it is the biggest and where there's the most overlap. Definitely agree it's a microcosm of a societal problem at large though.

 

TBH I struggle to overcome my own biases on stuff like this because I have seen so much terrible, racist, misogynist BS from CoD online communities in particular that I have a certain loathing for various areas of the community (the GamerGate thing really didn't help with that) - so I definitely accept my viewpoint on this could be flawed.

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1 minute ago, leicsmac said:

Yeah, I did umm and ahh a bit about where to put this.

 

Gaming isn't the only medium where this phenomenon takes place, but I would posit that it is the biggest and where there's the most overlap. Definitely agree it's a microcosm of a societal problem at large though.

 

TBH I struggle to overcome my own biases on stuff like this because I have seen so much terrible, racist, misogynist BS from CoD online communities in particular that I have a certain loathing for various areas of the community (the GamerGate thing really didn't help with that) - so I definitely accept my viewpoint on this could be flawed.

 

Yeah but I've played enough games and participated on enough forums, subreddits, groups and **** knows what else over the last twenty years to know it's not unique to CoD or even computer games. 

 

I've been on forums as long as I can remember and I started playing online games with UO back in the late nineties. 

 

It was never unique to either platform or any specific game or genre of games. It's always been everywhere, for as long as the Internet has given people anonymity they've abused it to abuse each other. 

 

Look at this place. There's plenty of misogynistic, nasty, remarks even just on here and foxestalk is like a Liberal nirvana compared to /b/ etc. 

 

4chan makes this place look like the most politically correct knitting circle you'll ever see and it's been that way since long before computer games broke in to the mainstream. 

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8 minutes ago, Finnegan said:

 

Yeah but I've played enough games and participated on enough forums, subreddits, groups and **** knows what else over the last twenty years to know it's not unique to CoD or even computer games. 

 

I've been on forums as long as I can remember and I started playing online games with UO back in the late nineties. 

 

It was never unique to either platform or any specific game or genre of games. It's always been everywhere, for as long as the Internet has given people anonymity they've abused it to abuse each other. 

 

Look at this place. There's plenty of misogynistic, nasty, remarks even just on here and foxestalk is like a Liberal nirvana compared to /b/ etc. 

 

4chan makes this place look like the most politically correct knitting circle you'll ever see and it's been that way since long before computer games broke in to the mainstream. 

That's all fair, and I definitely see what you mean. The gamers aren't morons, the morons play games, sometimes.

 

And if some folks think the FT right wingers are bad they should check out /pol/ :blink:

 

 

 

 

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It's been going on for a while now, lots of videos online of twitch streamers and the like getting their door kicked in by armed police all over the world.  I've always wondered why anybody would think it's a funny thing to do but also how much evidence is required before such heavy-handed responses are made, they surely can't be sending raid teams out to every anonymous tip sending them to places and people that were previously entirely off their radar.  Not at all surprised one of them's ended in a death, law of averages and all that... hopefully a lesson is learned from this but I'm not holding my breath.

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I've just seen an image of the guy responsible and he's a flipping alien.

_99413994_barriss2.jpg

Forget first contact society has already been infiltrated.  They live, people, they live.

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17 hours ago, Carl the Llama said:

It's been going on for a while now, lots of videos online of twitch streamers and the like getting their door kicked in by armed police all over the world.  I've always wondered why anybody would think it's a funny thing to do but also how much evidence is required before such heavy-handed responses are made, they surely can't be sending raid teams out to every anonymous tip sending them to places and people that were previously entirely off their radar.  Not at all surprised one of them's ended in a death, law of averages and all that... hopefully a lesson is learned from this but I'm not holding my breath.

The police were told "I am armed, I have shot my father in the head, I am pointing the gun at my mother and little brother who are in a closet, and I have doused the house in petrol" I'm not sure what sort of response you would send but the police have to treat it as correct information and act accordingly.  Imagine sending one unarmed officer to knock on the door just to see if it was genuine or not. Get there and the officer gets shot dead and the suspect kills the rest of his family before burning himself to death.  It was a tragedy, but hey we thought it was a hoax.

 

Mixing guns and threats and police is real life and outcomes like this are a high risk.

 

The officer pulling the trigger will likely be in absolute pieces.

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On 12/31/2017 at 16:44, nnfox said:

The police were told "I am armed, I have shot my father in the head, I am pointing the gun at my mother and little brother who are in a closet, and I have doused the house in petrol" I'm not sure what sort of response you would send but the police have to treat it as correct information and act accordingly.  Imagine sending one unarmed officer to knock on the door just to see if it was genuine or not. Get there and the officer gets shot dead and the suspect kills the rest of his family before burning himself to death.  It was a tragedy, but hey we thought it was a hoax.

 

Mixing guns and threats and police is real life and outcomes like this are a high risk.

 

The officer pulling the trigger will likely be in absolute pieces.

You would think they would try and verify some bits of information, like was the call from a number registered to the right guy, did the call ping off the right tower, was the number masked and efforts made to hide the caller's id? Has anyone else reported a gunshot in the area? Did they phone the number back? Did they try and contact the man again, it's not like he is going to run away from the cops, when he has just called them to confess.

 

If I was the police I would be cautious of anyone phoning up volunteering this sort of information about themselves. It would have to be considered highly suspicious, normally criminals do not just hand themselves in, is it fake? is it a hoax? is it a trap? Then you have to read the situation, did the guy look like he had just shot someone? Any blood? Any signs of a struggle? Did the house smell of petrol?

 

Such a needless pointless death, one of many in the US.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Captain... said:

You would think they would try and verify some bits of information, like was the call from a number registered to the right guy, did the call ping off the right tower, was the number masked and efforts made to hide the caller's id? Has anyone else reported a gunshot in the area? Did they phone the number back? Did they try and contact the man again, it's not like he is going to run away from the cops, when he has just called them to confess.

 

If I was the police I would be cautious of anyone phoning up volunteering this sort of information about themselves. It would have to be considered highly suspicious, normally criminals do not just hand themselves in, is it fake? is it a hoax? is it a trap? Then you have to read the situation, did the guy look like he had just shot someone? Any blood? Any signs of a struggle? Did the house smell of petrol?

 

Such a needless pointless death, one of many in the US.

 

 

All valid points that are easy to raise with hindsight, however, this was dealt with as a dynamic incident.  When the call came in, people's lives were at risk right then.  There simply isn't time to run through a checklist of actons to verify certain aspects of the incident. 

 

Finding who a phone is registered to is not a quick thing, other companies need to be contacted.  This type of enquiry would not be a top priority at the time of the initial call.  If no address was given by the caller, it might be different, but with a location given to go to, they simply had to go.  Straight away. And not all phones are registered anyway.

 

Same goes for the mast. Very little inference can be drawn by the mast used at the time unless the call was made from miles away from the scene but again, it isn't something that is quickly obtainable. Don't forget, real people's lives are at risk right now. Seconds count.

 

Masking numbers or hiding the originating call number is not unusual and not a reason to delay deploying officers to a live hostage/murder situation.  Again, just because there were no other reports of gunshots is not a reason not to deploy.  The police can't have a policy of only attending an immediate life at risk situation because they need to sit and wait for a second, independent call.  It might never come.

 

Maybe they did call the caller back.  Not sure what difference that would have made.  There were still people held as hostages with a gun pointed at them, about to be burned alive. Would the cops now not attend because the caller changed his mind and confessed it was a hoax?  I would hope not.

 

A cautious attitude to this sort of call would only work in some cases.  There would be far more headlines of "Police ignored plea for help as family massacred".  Sitting and trying to second guess everything isn't an option.

 

And to address your final point about blood stained clothes and the smell of petrol.  The officers attending the address would not have listened to the call but would have been aware of pertinent details.  When an adult male presents himself at the door, based on the information they had at the time, regardless of any other secondary factors like blood stained clothing or petrol in the air, that person is the primary threat and the officer's training kicks in. It would have been believed that he was armed, dangerous and likely to be mentally unstable and unpredictable and needs to be treated as such. If however a woman or a child came to the door, I'm sure things would have ended differently because that would have seriously contradicted the information. 

 

Yes, it was a tragic waste of a life, but I have a hard time blaming the cops for this one.  This is firmly on the idiot that made the call in the first place. 

 

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6 minutes ago, nnfox said:

Same goes for the mast. Very little inference can be drawn by the mast used at the time unless the call was made from miles away from the scene but again

But in a case of swatting it would be most likely someone from another city or state, these people are playing online with people all round the world, it would be low odds that the person calling in the hoax is from the same post code as their victim.

 

7 minutes ago, nnfox said:

Maybe they did call the caller back.  Not sure what difference that would have made. 

I meant why didn't they call the house they were going to, or the phone registered to the victim. That would be easier to find, maybe tracking numbers and cell phone pings are as easy as TV makes out, but I would immediately think something was odd about that message. Maybe not, maybe it is a high crime area with a drugs problem, maybe thousands of people are killing their father and soaking their house in petrol everyday in America. We don't even know he had a father, or a little brother, these facts can be very easily checked.

 

The cops aren't blameless in all of this, they killed an innocent man based on a phone call that anyone with a grudge could make. The fact this already has terminology, "swatting" means this isn't the first time it has happened. They need to be smarter and more cautious when rocking up at someone's home with a load of guns.

 

Just re-reading the article:

Quote


The Kansas shooting had some of the common markers of a swatting prank, including that the emergency call initially went to the security desk of City Hall, not 911, suggesting that the caller was not local.

The police were investigating unconfirmed reports that the prank call stemmed from an online video-gaming dispute, which is how many swattings originate, and that Mr. Finch was not the prank’s intended target.


 

 

There is definitely some blame on the police here.

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5 hours ago, Captain... said:

But in a case of swatting it would be most likely someone from another city or state, these people are playing online with people all round the world, it would be low odds that the person calling in the hoax is from the same post code as their victim.

 

I meant why didn't they call the house they were going to, or the phone registered to the victim. That would be easier to find, maybe tracking numbers and cell phone pings are as easy as TV makes out, but I would immediately think something was odd about that message. Maybe not, maybe it is a high crime area with a drugs problem, maybe thousands of people are killing their father and soaking their house in petrol everyday in America. We don't even know he had a father, or a little brother, these facts can be very easily checked.

 

The cops aren't blameless in all of this, they killed an innocent man based on a phone call that anyone with a grudge could make. The fact this already has terminology, "swatting" means this isn't the first time it has happened. They need to be smarter and more cautious when rocking up at someone's home with a load of guns.

 

Just re-reading the article:

 

There is definitely some blame on the police here.

Again, these are all valid points when viewed with 20/20 hindsight.  But in the heat of the moment the police have to make quick time dynamic decisions.  Decisions that have to be made in seconds that are then pondered over for months afterwards. 

 

There are likely to be lessons learned by the police but more to do with the training they receive when at the scene, not the decision to go or not. 

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